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The Beaverton Downtown Association and the Hillsboro Downtown Partnership are among the winners.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Kevin Teater won the award for executive director of the year. He has been executive director of the Beaverton Downtown Association since August 2018.

Two groups in Washington County are receiving awards for their downtown revitalization efforts.

In a press release on Monday, Nov. 2, Oregon Main Street announced its 2020 "Excellence in Downtown Revitalization" award winners along with videos of all the recipients. A total of fifteen businesses, projects, and people were recognized.

Five of those recognized were from Beaverton and Hillsboro based on nominations submitted by the Beaverton Downtown Association and the Hillsboro Downtown Partnership.

"I was very excited," said Beaverton Downtown Association executive director Kevin Teater. "Our teams have put in a lot of work over the past year into these programs we're being recognized for."

Teater won the award for executive director of the year. He has been executive director of the group since August 2018.

BDA got startup money from the city, but it is not an arm of government.

"(Teater) has been central in strengthening the reputation of the BDA growing it from a small but dedicated core of six volunteers to over fifty," said the announcement. "City leadership now view the BDA as a powerful ally of downtown Beaverton. He did this by making sure that volunteers, patrons, business and property owners walk away from any BDA interaction feeling positive."

The announcement added that Teater also had an impact on a statewide level. At the start of the pandemic, he took the initiative to start weekly check-in calls with the Oregon Main Street network, according to the press release. Oregon Main Street will continue with the check-in calls as a normal part of business.

When asked about the recognition, Teater said, "Well, I was surprised at first, because I didn't know that anybody had submitted my name. I am grateful to be here and be written in the first place. This is a great community and a great organization."

Teater added that he's also proud of Sofia Slack, who won the award for volunteer of the year.

In 2018, Slack joined the Beaverton Downtown Association as the voting youth representative on the board of directors. She began leading the social media team, quadrupling the number of Instagram quadrupled in followers, according to the announcement. COURTESY PHOTO: BEAVERTON DOWNTOWN ASSOCIATION - Teater proud of Sofia Slack, won the award for volunteer of the year. In 2018, Slack joined the Beaverton Downtown Association as the voting youth representative on the board of directors.

In 2019, Slack decided to take the next step and become the secretary of the board. She also joined BDA's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy planning team, helping to recruit other team members with expertise in this area.

"Slack is now attending college, but she made significant contributions to helping BDA grow and thrive," said Oregon Main Street in a statement.

BDA also won the best placemaking project award for its CoSign project.

The project is a partnership with the American Sign Museum, local businesses, local artists, the Beaverton city government, local architects and sign designers.

"Now you can walk down the street and you can see these really cool signs and you know the work that went into getting them there," said Teater. "They're helping bring some more visibility to these businesses, and it's just adding to a cool unique artsy culture that's developing here."

The Hillsboro Downtown Partnership was also recognized for its idea sharing rubric. It received the award for best organizational tool.

"Community members were coming to the HDP with great ideas, but they didn't have a process in place for people's ideas to be heard, acknowledged, and get connected with resources," said the announcement. "They came up with the 'Idea Sharing' project to make sure all ideas are taken into consideration through a consistent process and realistically supported through implementation if they meet sufficient parameters."

The idea came in handy when HDP decided to reach out to high school students whose extracurricular activities have been halted or limited due to COVID-19, the Main Street organization added. Considering the items were already through the vetting process, "students could pick different projects they wanted to work on — a win-win for HDP and the students."

White Birch Design Co., an interior design and retail business in Hillsboro, also won the business of the year award.

"What is particularly rewarding to see is how many individuals are giving their time, energy, and creativity to make their communities a better place," said Sheri Stuart, who is state coordinator for Oregon Main Street. "Now more than ever it is important to celebrate our award-winners. They serve as an inspiration to other communities. By their actions, they encourage others to join our network to preserve the heart and soul of communities across our state. We thank them for their efforts and congratulate all our nominees on their achievements."

Teater also hopes to inspire other downtown groups in Washington County.

"These efforts get more and more important as time goes on," he added, "because having a healthy downtown community is so incredibly important for the sustainability of cities as a whole. They're the heartbeats of communities."

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